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Family Law

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06 NOV 2015

JS v RS [2015] EWHC 2921 (Fam)

JS v RS [2015] EWHC 2921 (Fam)
(Family Division, Sir Peter Singer, 6 November 2015)

Financial remedies – Short marriage – Mingling of pre-marital assets – Disparity in pension entitlements

In financial remedy proceedings concerning a 6-year childless marriage, the husband was awarded approximately half the matrimonial assets including the former matrimonial home and a pension-sharing order.

The husband and wife were in a relationship for 6 years and had no children together. Both parties had good incomes in the region of £100,000pa but the wife earned bonuses totalling £10.5m during the marriage. The matrimonial home was purchased in joint names with £1.02m provided by the wife. A second property was purchased in joint names for £2m.

In 2012 the husband took voluntary redundancy. Subsequently he commenced an extra-marital relationship and the marriage broke down. The wife applied for financial remedy and primarily sought for both properties to be transferred into her sole name. The husband sought £3m including the former matrimonial home. The husband also sought a pension-sharing order to redress the imbalance in their respective entitlements. In total, their assets amounted to £6.9m.

The evidence failed to establish a clear and convincing pattern of separate finances. Instead, the pattern was one of open-ended liberality. Their incomes were pooled and clearly both contributed to household and other expenditure.

It was consistent with current principle that the matrimonial acquest, the value of the assets and savings built up during the marriage, irrespective of the very different proportions in which the parties contributed them, should be subject to the equal sharing principle. Although the wife had pre-marital capital of £1.37m, she had expended approximately £1.02m of that to buy and improve the matrimonial home. Such mingling of pre-acquired capital meant that it fell to be treated in the same way as capital amassed during the marriage and would call for equal division.

The husband was awarded the former matrimonial home plus a lump sum of £1.625m. Given the imbalance in the husband and wife's pension provisions it was appropriate to make a pension sharing order. The husband's suggestion of a payment of £200,000 was rejected. The wife would pay the husband £60,000 to offset that imbalance and ensure her pension pot remained intact.


Neutral Citation Number: [2015] EWHC 2921 (Fam)
Case No: GL13D01112

IN THE HIGH COURT OF JUSTICE
FAMILY DIVISION

Royal Courts of Justice
Strand
London
WC2A 2LL

Date: 6 November 2015

Before :

Sir Peter Singer

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Between :

JS
Applicant
- and -

RS
Respondent

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Mr Frank Feehan QC (instructed by Banks Kelly Solicitors) for the Applicant Wife
Mr Jonathan Southgate QC and Mr Robin Rowland (instructed by Harrison Clark Rickerbys Ltd) for the Respondent Husband
Hearing dates: 11 to 14 May and 6 November 2015

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Judgment

JS v RS [2015] EWHC 2921 (Fam)

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